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An Interview with Jessica Messenger, Star of One Hour to Die

by Mike Haberfelner

September 2012

Films starring Jessica Messenger on (re)Search my Trash


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Your film One Hour to Die - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell us about your character in it?


It centers around a group of people celebrating someone's birthday, when all hell lets loose after a note is found inside a birthday card, claiming they have 1 hour to die. My character is Jessie, she's the wayward sister of Shirl, creating all the tense moments and situations amongst the group. Shes flirtatious, a rebel and doesn't like to please anyone.


One Hour to Die was pretty much improvised upon a pre-set concept in one single take - how much of a challenge was that? And was this concept something that drew you to the film or rather made you second-guess your decision?


It was a huge challenge! I had never worked on a film before, only stage, so this was really different for me anyway, and to throw that in the mix was really challenging. I was drawn to the film as it's horror, which was my main area of interest at the time.


How much freedom were you given in creating your own character? And honestly, how much of you is in the slightly immature and borderline slutty Jess you play in the movie?


I was given a lot of freedom - I didn't really know what my character was until I arrived to set, I was given a general outline of Jessie and what the director wanted my character to achieve. Hardly any of me is in Jessie, I really struggled at first, you can ask other members of cast! I even recall a conversation with a co-star (Rob Ireland [Rob Ireland interview - click here]) with me explaining I'm not really a party girl, nor do I find myself easily being loose with men and loving much male attention. So I had to draw up on all my experience of other people and characters I have seen to give me the tools I needed to pull her off. She isn't someone who could just cut in with a small line now and again and fade steadily into the background, she was at the forefront continually. I'm glad you got her immaturity out of it, I guess it shows I pulled it off!


What can you tell us about your co-stars and the on-set atmosphere? And how much of a strain did it put on all of you to actually get the thing done in one single take?


My co-stars were all really great and I feel I got on with them well! Some I've kept in touch with more than others, and I chat to every now and again. I've also worked with a Rob Ireland on other movies since One Hour to Die.

The atmosphere on set was tense at times, we had a lot to do and to get it done right. I think before we shot the real and final take we were all really nervous, energised and tense - but I think that propelled us on to create what we did, so all in all, it was great!


A few words about your director Philip Gardiner [Philip Gardiner interview - click here], and what was your collaboration like?


He's a great guy for giving me a massive chance to start off my career in films, he didn't really know what I would be like and he gave me an opportunity to show him, which not many people do in this line of work. We got on really well, which led to us working together on a couple more of Phil's films.


You're also in Philip Gardiner's upcoming Awesome Killer Audition - what can you tell us about that one?


Ooo, not sure how much I can say, but it's based around the idea of a talent competition gone wrong. There's loads of different characters in this film, and I think there's some really comedic moments, quite enjoyable!


Let's go back to your very beginnings: You originally trained to be a dancer, right? Would you like to talk about that aspect of your career for a bit?


Yes that's right, it's all I ever really did from a young age and it was all I ever really wanted to do till I reached late teens. I did a lot of shows around the country, but I got to a point where I felt I couldnIt get any better - some people just continually improve and learn and grow, Ii felt like I needed to do something more.


You've also done quite a bit of modeling, right? Care to elaborate?


Yeah, bits and bobs, nothing worth shouting about!


What made you go into acting eventually, and did you receive any formal education on the subject?


Well, I've always enjoyed it, I've done shows since I can ever remember, I was always a member of the drama groups and stuff like that. I took a GNVQ in performing arts and did a lot of work in musical theatre/physical theatre at college.


Can you still remember your first time in front of a movie or TV camera, and what was that experience like?


Erm, yes I think it was a while ago, I did some stuff for a TV channel which was quite cool! It just confirmed how much I enjoyed it more than anything really.


Dancing, modeling and acting - how do the three compare, what do you find the most inspiring?


Dance and acting by absolute far. Modelling isn't even on the same scale, dance is like a breath of fresh air, you can feel every beat in the music to the pulse of your heart and it's the most incredible feeling when you walk off stage. Acting gives me another feeling similar, but it's a lot of hard hard work mentally preparing for a role. It's long hours, lots of prep time and a lot of shoot time. The best part is coming to the end and being proud of what you've done when you hold the final product in your hand. Nothing compares to that!



Movies of yours you want to talk about, future projects you'd like to share?


Just finished filming a movie called Wasteland, its set post apocalypse - about 5 years after a zombie breakout. There's almost two stories within one feature, running simultaneously. It's not really about why it came to be or even about zombies, it's really based around one character and then me (Beth), his love interest. How they cope in this kind of world and how humans would deal with this kind of situation. Its quite a sad story, a different take on the zombie feature.


I've read somewhere that you've founded a campaign to support independent horror film makers across the world - is that at all true, and what can you tell us about your love for horror to begin with?


Yes that's true! There's a lot of work to be done with the campaign, so it's a working project but it's exciting!


How would you describe yourself as an actress, and how do you usually approach your characters?


I guess I would say I'm really focused, hard working and willing to learn a lot from my fellow co-stars/other cast and crew. I'm the kind of person that finds more and more about myself the more I challenge myself, the more situations I put myself in, the more I learn and grow as an artist. I usually approach the situation with a lot of questions, I like to know what my character likes/dislikes, what kind of personality they have, where they are from and their background, why they react to situations the way that they do etc etc. It's all important to help build an idea of the type of person you are to become. I absolutely loved playing Beth in Wasteland. She was wonderful!


Actresses (or indeed actors) who inspire you?


Kristen Stewart - I really wasn't a fan to begin with, but y'know, that the girl has worked hard, she's stuck to her guns and she is who she is. I really admire that!
Camille Keaton - I just loved her in I Spit on your Grave. It's the kind of role I would love to do, she does it extremely well and I like how brave she was to do that.


Your favourite movies?


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x-rated  find Jessica Messenger at

Ahhh, I hate this question! I have far far too many to name. I love movies, I love everything about movies, the experience of movies, the way they can make you first laugh, then cry and feel so much emotion. I took a film degree because I love film.


... and of course, films you really deplore?


Ahh, equally as many I probably don't like too much. I can't really think of anything off the top of my head, but they would be the kind of films that don't really stick with me. For whatever reason.


Your website, Facebook, whatever else?


New website, just gone live this week : - and follow me on Twitter: @missjmessenger


Anything else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


Support your independent filmmakers across the world, by buying their movies, following their projects and if you have the money, by donating to their productions! There is so much unknown talent, it's time we got it known.


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
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Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD